PROBLEM: Although leukocytes do not possess significant numbers of ovarian steroid hormone receptors, their numbers in the endometrium vary consistently, relative to the menstrual cycle. The possibility that cell types within the endometrium express leukocyte-attracting genes in response to ovarian hormones was investigated.
METHOD OF STUDY: Endometrial biopsies were collected 10 days post-leutinizing hormone surge; the cell types were separated and cultured individually for 5 days in the presence of increasing amounts of estrogen or progesterone. Following culture, RNA was collected from cells and reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to determine relative levels of gene expression of monocyte chemotactic proteins (MCP)-1, -2, and -3, and interleukin (IL)-12p35 and p40.
RESULTS: Although both endometrial stroma and glands were able to make MCP mRNA, steady-state levels of gene expression did not vary significantly relative to hormone treatment. The same was found for the p35 molecule of the IL-12 gene; however, differences were observed for the p40 subunit.
CONCLUSIONS: Within the human endometrium, chemokines other than MCP and IL-12 are most likely responsible for cycle-related leukocyte recruitment.